Mr. Cohen did not seem to have extensive expertise in the arcana of New York City condo rules. But he had something Mr. Trump seemed to value more: devotion to the Trump brand. He had already purchased a number of Trump properties and had persuaded his parents, in-laws and a business partner to buy apartments in Mr. Trump’s flashy new development, Trump World Tower.
.. With Mr. Cohen’s help, Mr. Trump regained control of the board, orchestrating a coup that culminated in a standoff between his security detail and private guards hired by the disgruntled owners, according to people who were there. Details of the dispute’s resolution are secret because of a confidentiality agreement, but Mr. Cohen said that his task was “masterfully accomplished.”
.. He went on to serve as a key confidant for Mr. Trump, with an office near the boss at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Officially, his title was special counsel, but he appears to have served more as a kind of personal arm-twister. If anyone crossed Mr. Trump or stood in his way, Mr. Cohen, who was known to sometimes carry a licensed pistol in an ankle holster, would cajole, bully or threaten a lawsuit, according to a half-dozen people who dealt with him over the years.
“If somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump’s benefit,” Mr. Cohen once said during an interview with ABC News. “If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck, and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”
.. An unverified dossier prepared by a retired British spy and published this year said that Mr. Cohen had met overseas with Kremlin officials and other Russian operatives, which he has denied.
.. He has also attracted attention for playing a role in a failed effort to open a back channel for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, where his wife’s family is from.
.. On the networking site LinkedIn, Mr. Cohen refers to himself as the “personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump,”
.. Those who have known him for years said Mr. Cohen had a penchant for luxury, like Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen was married at the Pierre, a legacy luxury hotel overlooking Central Park, drove a Porsche in college and at one point owned a Bentley.
.. he moved into an office previously used by Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump.
.. Mr. Cohen did some scouting and groundwork for possible Trump condominium towers in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Kazakhstan, but those deals never materialized.
.. Some people who worked with him also declined to describe Mr. Cohen’s tenure, with several of them saying they feared being sued.
.. would have made a good contestant on Mr. Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice.”
.. “I believe that my brother represents the type of person that the show depicted that Trump liked and appreciated,” Bryan Cohen said. “He had a combination of smarts, street smarts, and those things are not mutually exclusive. He’s successful, aggressive. That seemingly was a winning combination on the early seasons of ‘The Apprentice.’”
.. The Republican National Committee named him to its finance leadership team this year, and in April, the international law firm and Washington lobbying powerhouse Squire Patton Boggs formed a “strategic alliance” with Mr. Cohen’s law practice.
Several people with knowledge of Mr. Cohen’s involvement with Squire Patton Boggs said he had been brought on as a sort of rainmaker because of his business contacts in the United States and abroad.
.. At a $35,000-a-plate fund-raiser last week at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, Mr. Trump acknowledged the efforts of his former employee